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Sustich Returns to Classroom; Risch Named at ABI


JONESBORO – Dr. Andrew Sustich is returning to the classroom for Arkansas State University, stepping down from his administrative posts as the associate vice chancellor for research and technology and the executive director of the Arkansas Biosciences Institute (ABI) at A-State, Provost Lynita Cooksey announced today.

Dr. Tom Risch, currently chair of the biological science program, will take over as the interim director of ABI and also is promoted to interim associate vice chancellor of research and technology.  In a related move, Dr. Travis Marsico, associate chair of biological science, was named as the interim chair of the department.

“I want to thank Dr. Sustich for his work in managing our Office of Research and Technology Transfer over the past years,” Cooksey said.  “He has also been an important member of the overall research team through his management of ABI.”

Sustich took over as the associate vice chancellor for research and technology transfer in June of 2012 at the end of his time as dean of the Graduate School.  He was also interim ABI director and subsequently named the permanent director.

Risch’s move into leadership of the research office coincides with several recent achievements within the biological science program.  Earlier this academic year, Arkansas State was designated as the nationwide repository of DNA related to the endangered species work related to the American Red Wolf.  Students within the wildlife ecology program have become involved in endangered species research related to the Red Wolf initiative.

A 1999 Ph.D. graduate in zoology from Auburn University, Risch joined Arkansas State in 2001, and is currently a professor of animal ecology and holds the Judd Hill Endowed Chair of Environmental Biology.

Sustich joined Arkansas State in 1991 as an assistant professor of physics.  During his tenure with A-State, he has served in a variety of administrative appointments including interim dean of what today is the College of Sciences and Mathematics.  He was the dean of the Graduate School and of the Honors College from 2006 until 2012, and also was interim executive director of the Arkansas Biosciences Institute at Arkansas State in 2012 prior to taking the position fulltime.

Sustich received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Following a two-year postdoctoral research appointment at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, he came to Arkansas State.  He was promoted to associate professor in 1994 and full professor in 1999.

The Arkansas Biosciences Institute (ABI) is an agricultural and medical research consortium dedicated to improving the health of Arkansans. Arkansas State is one of the participating institutions, along with Arkansas Children’s Hospital, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, University of Arkansas, and University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.  ABI opened its facility at A-State in 2004.

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Tom Risch photo
Dr. Tom Risch


Dr. Andrew Sustich